MAD Perspectives Blog

Are You Ready to Embrace Video Marketing!

Peggy Dau - Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Last week I shared some thoughts about aligning your video marketing with your overall strategy. Now, assuming you've done your homework and have defined your goals for creating a video, you actually have to create and share the video. This is the fun part, but it is also the most challenging. There are a LOT of companies who will help you create video.  You may even consider doing it yourself. However, please consider using a professional. They will help you with:

    - Concept: This is the brainstorming phase. The concept stems from the purpose for creating the video but incorporates different perspectives.  Your story may best be told through casual interviews of executives, employees and customers in real life settings. Or, it may include abstract concepts involving video shots of places or things. Or, it may include animation and voice overs. A professional can walk you through the options and help you make your business come alive!

     - Content:The only way to create video content is to use a camera. There are many inexpensive cameras available today. The FlipCam (may it rest in peace), Digital Point & Shoot Cameras and Smartphones all have the capability to capture video quickly and easily. However, while the quality provided through these devices may be great for posting content to Facebook or YouTube, is that casual format aligned with your goal? A professional will use higher quality cameras. They will understand how to stage the shoot, taking into account lighting, sound levels, background views, background noise, etc. The results will be worth the effort.

     - Editing - This is perhaps the most important stage. This is where the story really comes together. A shoot may involve many versions of the same concept. During the editing stage, a professional will select the pieces of content that best tell your story, as per your guidelines. While there are many affordable editing tools available to the consumer, again, deciding the sequence of scenes, seamlessly editing the content can be challenging.

     - Sharing - Underlying this whole process is the use of technology that enables the video to be seen and shared across online or mobile networks. This includes decisions about codecs (the format in which the content is saved and viewed) and distribution platforms at the very least. You content should be accessible via pc, smartphone or tablet. You'll need to think about how you will share content on your website, using social media or email. Each of these devices or platforms has different requirements for allowing consumption by your customers. 

B2B use of video marketing is on the rise for a lot of very good reasons. For me, number one is the power of video in expressing your business value. For others it may be as pragmatic as the fact that video improves SEO. For further insights on the rise in B2B use of video, check out the Savvy B2B Marketing blog. Are you ready to take the plunge to take your story telling to the next level?  I hope so!

What's your perspective?

Thanks again to Glenn Zimmerman and Mad Bear Productions for helping me think through these thoughts on companies using video to share their stories.  

Let's Talk Video

Peggy Dau - Monday, April 02, 2012

It's April and that means its time to talk video.  For the next few weeks, my blogs will focus on video.  We are bombarded by moving images every day.  We share these images, we create content and we tell stories. Broadcasters incorporate YouTube videos into their newscasts.  We create videos for our personal and professional lives.  Businesses use video to explain, educate and inform their customers.  But, secretly, every content creator wants to create the viral video that rages like wildfire across the internet.

I was talking to Glenn Zimmerman of Mad Bear Productions (yes, we "mad" companies must stick together!) about every advertisers dream of creating the Old Spice Guy type commercial.  I asked him for tips on how to make a viral video.  His initial response was what is "viral"?  Is it about getting millions of hits or is it about five hundred views by the right people who are ready to take action?  His second comment referenced three attributes which may cause a video to go viral.  They are:  fuzzy animals, a baby or doing something completely insane on camera.  If your video includes any of these three, it has a slightly greater chance of becoming viral.

However, do any of these three elements support your overall strategy for creating the video in the first place? Video is not and should not be pursued in isolation from your marketing strategy.  It should reinforce and align with your goals.  If you have concerns about your brand and what it means, don't jump into creating a video. The video should reinforce your brand, represent your voice and tell a story that your audience wants to hear.  

When creating the video, pay attention to what outcome you are seeking.  What action do you want your customers to take? Do you want them to simply talk about your brand? Or, do you want them buy something, attend a conference or webinar or schedule a meeting? Be clear in your communication and make it easy of your customers to take action. At the same time, have fun in relaying your content.  Video is about a creative process.  

In the coming weeks, I'll share further tips from Mad Bear Productions, provide thoughts on what "social video" means, and reflect on what the professionals are talking about at this year's NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) conference.  Video is now an intrinsic part of our lives thanks firstly to TV, but also the internet and increasingly smartphones and tablets. Video is memorable storytelling.  How will you tell your story?

What's your perspective?

What's Up With All the Pinning?

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The latest social media buzz is all about Pinterest.  If you are a female consumer ages 25-54, you might be using Pinterest to invite comment from friends and family as to interior decorating options, travel destinations, gifts or recipes. According to Pinterest they are "a virtual inboard.  Pinterest allows you to organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web." While this may be fine for consumers, I'm challenged to think of the the value for B2B companies.  Sure, technology companies such as HP, IBM, EMC and others have some limited content on Pinterest, but how can Pinterest help your company achieve its strategic goals?

The answer - I don't know. Hubspot has a good blog on this topic reflecting on the ability for users to follow boards or entire accounts. So, you could elect to follow the board of a industry thought leader or a specific industry topic. If you search "social media" a slew of pins appear. The most important thing to remember about Pinterest is visual.  It is about images. A pin cannot be created if it is not associated with an image.

Of course, Pinterest could be part of an overall strategy to increase awareness of the company and its products. The key is whether your target audience is on Pinterest. Then the challenge is to represent your business using visual images. This could be an infographic, logo, presentation, pictures from an event or product images. Don't forget, visual content is more memorable than text.However, it's about this being the right destination for your content. It's not that this content is not located anyplace else on the web, it's that you want to reach an audience that is spending time on Pinterest.

Think about how Pinterest may advance your business strategy. Brainstorm the different types of images that can personalize your business and then align those images with your overall marketing strategy. A simple starting point may be related to an event. There are dozens, if not thousands, of pins from the recent South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas. I'd be curious how many of these pins are also twit pics or pictures of Facebook pages. Do these pins increase awareness or drive leads - or is it just a way to humanize your business?

Pinterest can be linked to your Facebook and Twitter accounts, meaning that your pins show up in those feeds. This is great for personal use, but for me, the jury is still out on the relevance of Pinterest in the B2B space, but I'll keep watching and brainstorming!

What's your perspective?

How to Be Human

Peggy Dau - Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Last week I introduced the idea of being human when communicating socially.  Here are some further thoughts on HOW to be human.  It's really quite simple, but I think we all get caught up in the demands of our business lives and forget about the basics of meaningful communication.

1.  Be Open. Whether we are speaking face to face or sharing thoughts on LinkedIn or writing a blog, it is always possible to see when someone is hiding something. Either a question is ignored or the answer swerves in a different direction or the elephant in the room is completely ignored. Honesty is the currency of the social web. This is not an original thought on my part, but I do believe that integrity is the MOST important attribute for any business person.

2.  Use pictures. They do speak a thousand words. When you create your profile, include your picture.  Social media is about humanizing web communication. Don't you want to know who you are talking to? If you were on an internet dating site, would you respond to the person who didn't post a picture? And, it's not only about pictures of yourself, use diagrams, graphics or pictures to enhance your story and reinforce the important bits. It's amazing to see the rise of info graphics across the web. Why are they so popular? Because they capture and share pertinent information in an easily consumable (and shareable) format.

3. Post Engaging Content. For some, this is the most challenging. Who is to say what content is the most engaging. However, think about the needs of your audience and how the information they crave.  Present the content in a human manner. We are not all technicians or experts in every field. Share information in easily consumable chunks. Make it real through real life examples.

4. Don't sell. This might be the most important aspect of social media. While the goal may be to create more leads, there is nothing more distasteful than a hard sell (in person or online!). I'm interested in understanding what makes a company tick.  I'm interested in their application of their solutions in business situations. I'm interested in how they collaborate with partners or customers to create value. I'm curious about the trends that are influencing their product roadmap. I can read their website to understand the feature / functionality of their products. I can talk to their sales reps about special deals. I don't need a sales pitch on Twitter!

5. Listen. I've said this before and will continue to repeat myself. There is a LOT of fantastic information being shared by peers, partners, customers and competitors. It is important to take the time to listen and assess.  It might change the way your business moves forward. I listen to social media experts; IT, broadcast & media pundits. I follow many blogs, eagerly review LinkedIn updates and connect the dots across the technology industry. What about you?

We are human yet sometimes we forget to act as humans when we are in business situations. Business, at its core, is about relationships. While I'm not promoting intimacy of a personal nature, business intimacy comes from finding common ground, delivering reliability and earning trust. The same skills that have been used in face to face dinners and golf outings also apply in the social world.

What's your perspective?

Remember to be Human

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, March 14, 2012

In a discussion with a former HP colleague I was reminiscing about the "old days" of open communication, sharing of ideas, encouragement of career shifts and the "can do" exuberance that was prevalent in the company's New York area offices. I hadn't traveled to the west coast, at that point in my career, to experience the HP Way on any larger scale. Bill and Dave were still alive and their influence was pervasive, even though they weren't actively involved in the day to day running of the company.

As I thought about this conversation later, I realized that what made HP a special place to work at that time (the mid to late 80's) was its culture of curiosity and humanity. By humanity, I mean

     - a respect for individuals

     - a hunger for new ideas or processes

     - a desire to delight the customer 

     - a high level of integrity

Aren't these the same elements that make social media so compelling? In their book, Humanize, How People-Centric Organizations Succeed in Social Media, James Notter and Maddie Grant reflect on organizations have become mechanical and the importance of making organizations more human. Consumers and business people alike are attracted to social media because of its openness and honesty. Those companies that learn to communicate as if in a one-to-one conversation rather than in scripted, sanitized, bland corporate speak stand to benefit. They will earn customer loyalty, feed product innovation, 

As I communicate in a post-corporate world, I think about how I talk to my peers, my friends and my clients. Their feedback has been extremely helpful as MAD Perspectives has evolved. The words most commonly used are courage, passion, commitment, honesty and clarity. I keep these comments in mind as I communicate here in my blog or on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. I hope I sound human.  

I believe that the best corporate social efforts are those where the individuals are empowered to speak candidly about their experiences. It is frustrating when the social networks seem to perpetuate corporate speak. I appreciate those status updates that add personal insight regarding a newsworthy tidbit. I enjoy the comments that reveal the individuals personality, likes and dislikes. I learn from those blogs that share real world application of complex ideas or technologies.  

It comes down to being human and remembering that social media has evolved as a way for people to communicate with people. Social media networks and platforms are simply the medium that have reminded us that we like to talk as if we were leaning over the cubicle wall to share a new idea. As companies continue their social media forays, I believe those that will succeed will remember to be human.  

What's your perspective?

The Social Media Kaleidoscope

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, March 07, 2012

All it takes is a little twist to shift the picture in a kaleidoscope. Your digital media strategy is like a kaleidoscope with a variety of targets, participants, content and platforms. The challenge is in how to adapt to the shifts. Sharon Salzberg said "Life is like an ever shifting kaleidoscope. A slight change and all patterns alter." Social media is influencing the shape of new patterns everywhere.

Think about a kaleidoscope. If one crystal shifts, the whole pattern changes.  Each pattern is beautiful in its own way, yet we prefer some of them more than others. But, we can never get back to that one special pattern. Social media has the same impact. Each statement we make, each comment we receive shifts market perception. Sometimes these shifts are minor while other times these shifts are dramatic!  Fear of a changing pattern has inhibited many companies from embracing social media in a meaningful way. I would argue that a different perspective, is not necessarily a bad perspective. We can learn from our customers, takes lessons from disappointments and adapt to new perspectives.

The plethora of established (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) and emerging (Pinterest) social platforms can create confusion as to which networks can best help businesses achieve their goals. As always, it's about alignment of objectives. Shifting markets, expectations and technologies force a shift in the use of content and technology. However, the constant is in defining a strategy that is reviewed on a regular basis. Any strategy can be tweaked based on its success or failure. This tweaking can be considered the twisting of the kaleidoscope.  

Your aim is to find the right mix of traditional communication tools, online video, social media or other solutions to share your valuable content. My kaleidoscope shifts a little bit every day as I try different communication methods, learn from my clients, listen to their customers and adapt their stories to achieve results. I have followed new tweets, unlinked contacts, liked and unliked Facebook pages and adapted my blog to bring insight and value. I still work with clients developing traditional content such as data sheets, powerpoint and white papers. Their audiences demand it. What does your customers need from you? How does your kaleidoscope shift?

What's your perspective?

Using LinkedIn to Build B2B Followers

Peggy Dau - Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Every day there are more articles showcasing the value of social media for business.  However, 80% of those articles reflect the value for companies marketing to and communicating with consumers.  The challenge, for companies selling products or services to other companies, is how social media can help them.  After all, when most people are on Facebook, they are there to communicate with their friends and family.  Sure, they may be job hunting, and Facebook has proven to be a good place for employers to recruit new employees.  It is also a good place for companies to connect with users regarding customer support issues.  However, Facebookt is still first and foremost a destination for the individual thinking about personal, rather than business, topics.

A recent article on The Next Web highlighting the high proportion of U.S. based LinkedIn members, with membership growing internationally. What was more interesting is how companies are taking advantage of LinkedIn, particularly those in high tech. One of the dominant metrics, for measuring success in social media , is tracking the number of followers. For a company in the B2B space, it is most important for followers to be individuals who can influence purchasing decisions. LinkedIn is the most relevant social network for attracting influential followers. Who's are the companies leading the pack?

    1. IBM, ~590,000 followers

    2. HP, ~449,000 followers

    3. Microsoft, ~424,000 followers

    4. Accenture, ~419,000 followers

    5. Google, ~409,000 followers

    6. Oracle, ~293,000 followers

    7. Deloitte, ~283,000 followers

    8. Apple, ~253,000 followers

    9. Dell, ~244,000 followers

    10. Cisco, ~240,000 followers

source:  Zoomsphere

It's not a surprise to me that tech companies lead the pack.  Tech company employees tend to adopt new tools more rapidly than individuals in other markets.  IBM, in particular, has invested heavily in "socializing" its entire approach to business. This is partly to promote their own business intelligence capabilities, but also to simplify how employees get and stay connected internally or externally.  

These companies use LinkedIn's company pages to promote the company and their product lines. The benefit of promoting products and services on LinkedIn, allows the company to highlight new products, customer case studies and increase attention to key product lines. Another benefit is the ability for users to provide recommendations for company products. Hewlett-Packard, in particular, has gained a significant number of recommendations across all of its businesses. In addition, they sponsor several groups targeting different customer segments.

Social media is changing the way we connect with customers.  LinkedIn provides an additional channel for communicating value and differentiation, as well as listening to what customers are saying.  Look into leveraging LinkedIn for more than your personal profile, there are benefits for large and small businesses. Check it out!

What's your perspective?

Define Your Business Identity Before Going Social!

Peggy Dau - Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I spent some time with a boutique architecture firm while I was in London two weeks ago. This firm provides contemporary design to residential developers and individual homeowners. Each architect, including the partners, honed their skills in larger architecture firms, but elected to move to a smaller firm to gain broader experience in managing projects from conception to design to planning board approval to build. My goal in working with the firm was to help them define themselves for their clients and prospective employees, with the intent to help them expand their market reach.

Our morning workshop gathered the entire team around the conference table in their open space work area. The partners had met at a larger firm and found success in co-managing a small team within that firm. They had left to establish their firm, ph+, immediately winning business with residential developers. However, they had never thought about how they would market their firm. Their business is won through word of mouth. As we talked about the firm and how their business evolved, why each employee joined the firm and what they enjoy about working with clients - the value of ph+ became clear. The challenge will be how they incorporate these values into their web site, physical media and social media (should they elect to leverage social media).

We defined value in terms of the way ph+ acts and why they want to be for their clients. They are honorable and act with integrity. We defined value based on what motivates them. They want to provide comprehensive plans, paying attention to every detail to ensure planning board approval. We defined value based upon a commitment to contemporary design.  ph+ pay attention to design details from window details to plumbing fixtures to how the space will be used by its inhabitants.

In today's world, Word of Mouth marketing is the cornerstone for many firms, large or small.  Social media simultaneously simplifies and complicates word of mouth marketing.  For a business, like ph+, whose first goal is to fulfill client requirements through comprehensive, detailed designs, marketing is a scary business. Marketing distracts energy from actual architecting, without a clearly defined return. Yet, ph+ wishes to expand its client base.  

As ph+ moves forward, they will combine face to face and online word of mouth. They will continue to attend events which expose them to desired clients. They will review options for using social networks to gain insight about and access to new projects. They will identify what content is proprietary versus general information that will attract clients. They will consider expanding the content shared on their blog. Their primary concern remains individual bandwidth as they do not have dedicated marketing staff.

The commitment to social media by small business is challenging. Staffing and individual bandwidth is a key concern. ph+ has reinforced their values and their goals. Their identity has ben clarified. This is helpful as they continue to grow as a business and consider formalizing their marketing efforts. Have you taken the time to define your identity, based on your values and your business goals? If not, please do so before you jump into using social media to promote your business! Authenticity comes from an understanding of identity and purpose and authenticity is a core requirement of social media.

What's your perspective?

Cultivating Relationships

Peggy Dau - Monday, February 06, 2012

I'm in London this week, cultivating relationships. What's interesting about this trip is that it is driven my belief in the power of face to face meetings, despite the fact that many of these relationships are maintained using social media. Over the course of careers we meet many contacts. Some of these contacts blossom into mutually beneficial business relationships, and many times, into true friendship. Like other social media enthusiasts, I do believe that social media provides an additional forum for sustaining business relationships.

If we look at the evolution of business communication, it has always been about the spoken and written word. The methods for written communication have simply evolved. While the spoken word in facet to face meetings or video and phone calls allows the best understanding of nuance, the written word provides a tangible account of intention, meetings, actions, goals and metrics. The options for creating that record has simply expanded over time.  From letters to faxes to email to social media, we capture and communicate our purpose.  

The challenge with social media is adapting to a open form of communication. Letters, faxes and emails were shared with a specific audience. Social networks widen the reach of our communication, which can be intimidating. However, it can also be extremely beneficial. We can reach out to our colleagues quickly and easily.  Of course, we need to pay attention to what we are saying. We need to be thoughtful about the content shared and the frequency of sharing. We must think about our goals for communicating as well as the needs of our audience.

I primarily use LinkedIn and Twitter for business purposes. I share my thoughts on social media for B2B, communication technologies and high tech. My posts have led to many face to face meetings leading to new insights and new business.  My connections have helped me fulfill deliverables for clients. On the flip side, I pay attention to what my connections are saying and what they need. This has led to my making introductions that I feel are beneficial.  Much of this is no different than what we have all done in the past - and continue to do in our daily business lives. Social media simplifies our ability to keep up with our network.

I'm enjoying my time in London, face to face meetings are fantastic. However, I know that I will use all forms of communication - email, social media, phone, Skype, to keep up with these colleagues once I've returned home. Maintaining business relationships is one key to success. Taking advantage of all the tools available to us is the key to successful cultivation!

What's your perspective?

Using the Top Social Networks for B2B Marketing

Peggy Dau - Tuesday, January 24, 2012

There is an ongoing debate about the use of social media by business-to-business (B2B) companies. However, according to B2B Magazine, 93% of B2B marketing are using some form of social media marketing. As expected, Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter are the most popular. However, tactics, resources and metrics are key challenges. These challenges are connected and reinforce the need for a comprehensive strategy, integrating your social media efforts with your overall marketing plan. However, it is first important to understand how you can best utilize each of these social networks.

Here are a few thoughts:

     - LinkedIn:  create a group for your brand, create a company page and promote products, encourage employees to provide links within their profile to the company webpage(s), share company presentations and videos, integrate twitter feeds and corporate blogs, recruit employees

     - Facebook:  share news and videos, , promote and share pictures and comments from events, highlight expert knowledge from both employees and customers, create community through customized product pages (invite Likes, discussion, links to more information on company website), recruit employees

     - Twitter:  listen to what others (customers, competitors, influencers) are saying, share content (provide links to articles, re-tweet influencer content, invite input from your followers to validate strategy

For additional insights and tips on using social media for B2B marketing check out Social Media B2B, Marketo, Hubspot,

Identify your goals. Consider how these platforms, or others, may augment your marketing, customer service, product development or sales efforts. Be brave and be patient.  Social media is a broadcast channel enabling you to reach a very wide audience.  It takes time to build a valuable following and to learn how to interact effectively with them.

What's your perspective?